Museums Memberships: What’s the Point?


A really interesting read from the blog, Museum 2.0: “Rethinking Membership: What Does It Mean to Belong to a Museum?” In it, they talk about the lack of immediate connection one has to a museum when making donations by signing up for an extended membership, comparing it to that of belonging to a gym, wherein you pay big money sign up, but everyone kinda knows from the start that about 90% of the people aren’t really going to be getting a lot out of it. From there, after explaining the problem, they get right into how to fix it and what some other museums around the country. It’s a good read, even if you aren’t in the business of museumery, as we can see a lot of what’s being talked about here applying to most anything that would benefit from better communication with your end user. Here’s a bit:

What’s wrong with value members? Consider the largest vendor of value memberships: fitness centers. Gym memberships, like museum memberships, are often bought based on future intentions rather than current activities. If you are not someone who works out, you assume that buying a gym membership will motivate you to attend. But the gym experience, like the museum experience, doesn’t welcome you into a social, supportive environment that rewards your membership. It just offers services and equipment, to be used or ignored. And the reality is that 9 out of 10 gym memberships are abandoned. The financial incentive to use the services of the gym are not great enough to overcome personal obstacles to use.